Since most of polls show McCain comfortably ahead in most Southern states, people may not be aware that close Senate races are developing in the South. Republican incumbents in North Carolina, Kentucky, Georgia, and Mississippi find themselves in very competitive races. In fact, according to this article in Politico, one McCain aide thinks that Elizabeth Dole is certain to lose in North Carolina.
Right now there are only four Democratic Senators from the 11 states that made up the Confederacy. There is one Democratic Senator in Louisana, two in Arkansas, and one in Florida. There are three Democratic Senators from the border states of West Virginia, Kentucky, and Missouri. They are found in West Virginia with two and one in Missouri. That could change after this election cycle.
Democrats are virtually guaranteed that they will pick up the open seat in Virginia. Right now the Democratic candidate is ahead in North Carolina. The GOP Majority Leader is in a much tougher race than anticipated in Kentucky. The appointed GOP Mississippi Senator is only up by about two percentage points. The Democrats are picking up steam in Georgia after the Republican incumbent voted for the Wall Street bailout.
The reason why these races are getting competitive is that southern states are not immune from the economic turmoil affecting America. Once you get below the race for president and into races where national security and race aren't as relevant to white voters, then Democrats are in a good position to make their case to a listening audience. Further, in North Carolina and Georgia, Democratic candidates are benefiting from the increase in the number of African-American voters caused by this spring's primaries between Clinton and Obama.
Keep your eye on those races, they could be very important in the Democrats' campaign to reach 60 votes in the Senate.